Phase 1 of the Legal Process for Surrogacy
In many states, including Ohio, surrogacy is a two-phased legal process. The surrogacy agreement is the first phase.
During the first phase, intended parent(s) and the surrogate (and her spouse, if married), negotiate -- through their attorneys -- the many details of the surrogacy arrangement, resulting in a final signed surrogacy agreement. Because of the unique and nuanced nature of surrogacy, it is imparative that both the intended parent(s) and the surrogate (and her spouse, if married) be represented by independent and experienced legal counsel.
The best surrogacy agreements are thorough yet succinct and clear. At the core, surrogacy agreements outline the fundamental purpose and intent of the arrangement: that an embryo belonging to intended parent(s) will be transferred into the uterus of the surrogate, who will carry and deliver a child who is legally the child of intended parent(s).
Surrogacy agreements also define the rights, expectations, and obligations of all the parties and address the numerous and often intersecting subject matters involved in a surrogacy arrangement: number of embryo transfers, number of embryos transferred per cycle, identification of doctors and the delivery hospital, health insurance, life insurance, legal parentage and the birth order process, future contact, confidentiality, expenses covered, and payment.
Finally, the surrogacy agreement provides a road-map for the many, different situations that can and do come up during a pregnancy.
The laws about surrogacy vary from state to state, making certain jurisdictions more friendly than others. Where the intended parent(s) and surrogate live and where the birth will take place will directly impact the ease and feasibility of a surrogacy arrangement. Ohio and Illinois are both very surrogacy friendly states.